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YANGON – Four strategic priorities and key elements of the new Strategic Framework for the United Nations in Myanmar were presented today at the monthly Humanitarian Partnership Group meeting, attended by over 80 experts, heads of missions and UN agencies, diplomats and aid workers.

The priorities, which are the result of extensive analysis of humanitarian and development challenges in the country, will guide UN engagement and programming and form the basis of a new Strategic Framework for the period 2012-2015.

“The UN Strategic Framework aims to be a collective, coherent and integrated programming and monitoring framework for UN contributions in Myanmar, based on the UN’s comparative advantages. The UN Strategic Framework is based on the analyses of the country’s situation, development challenges that it faces and opportunities ahead of it,” said Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator, who chaired the meeting.

The UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator explained that consultations had been held with focal points from all relevant government ministries, the latest in February. Based on these consultations it had been agreed that UN engagement would focus on four Strategic Priorities, namely:

  1. Encourage inclusive growth (both rural and urban), including agricultural development and enhancement of employment opportunities
  2. Increase equitable access to quality social services
  3. Reduce vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change
  4. Promote good governance and strengthen democratic institutions and rights

Under the Strategic Framework, UN agencies, funds and programmes in Myanmar, as well as non-resident agencies, regional commissions and other UN entities, will work with common goals and objectives and in partnership with development partners to meet the socioeconomic and humanitarian needs of the people of Myanmar. A joint UN Action Plan will follow the UN Strategic Framework document.

“In implementing the UN Strategic Framework, continued consultations with all stakeholders will be critical to regularly and systematically review the progress towards the four Strategic Priorities. The UN will continue to engage with all partners, to ensure that true progress is made, including towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Myanmar, which remains a top priority,” said Parajuli and added that despite progress in some areas, Myanmar must accelerate its efforts if the MDGs and their targets are to be fully realized by 2015.

Some concrete examples of how joint programmes will be developed, in line with the new priorities and in support of the MDGs, were presented at the meeting by Mohamed Abdel-Ahad, UNFPA Representative and Chair of the MDG Monitoring & Evaluation Group in Myanmar.

“In line with the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health to accelerate achievement of health MDGs, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO are currently developing a joint programme to address unmet needs for maternal and child health care in Myanmar with support from AusAid. Another example is a joint programme to strengthen data systems and bridge data gaps on MDGs, which is currently being explored by the MDG Monitoring & Evaluation Group and UNESCAP. More will emerge as we move forward with the strategic planning progress,” said Abdel-Ahad.

The Myanmar Humanitarian Partnership Group meeting also included an update on recovery efforts in the areas affected by Cyclone Giri, which struck Myanmar’s Rakhine State on 20 October 2010, affecting the lives of some 260,000 people.

International donors have provided USD 40 million for relief and early recovery, which are now benefitting the people affected by the cyclone. As of February 2011, a total of USD 50.2 million were needed for recovery activities, according to the Post-Giri Consolidated Action Plan jointly prepared by UN and NGOs working in the affected townships.

The meeting also applauded the recent substantial increase in aid from the United Kingdom. According to an announcement from the Department for International Development (DFID) last week, the UK will spend an average of £46 million (USD 75 million) per year in Myanmar until 2015.

The need to look at long-term solutions to the water and sanitation problem in Myanmar was highlighted in a presentation by the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Working Group, which is comprised of both UN agencies and international and local non-governmental organizations.

Recent assessments have shown that the WASH response to Cyclone Giri was quick with a coverage of more than 80 percent. In the Ayeyarwady Delta, still affected by the effects of the 2008 Cyclone Nargis, access to water and sanitation has improved compared with the previous two years. Nevertheless, water shortage may need to be addressed in the latter part of the dry season in many parts of the country.

For more information, please contact: 
Esben Harboe, tel. +95-9-5074853,
Aye Win, tel. +95-9-5123952,